BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 5, 2017) - The second half of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season kicks off this weekend with the 20th annual Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.
And it begins with a heavy heart at Don Schumacher Racing and the NHRA community.
Terry Chandler, who funded DSR Funny Cars for Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr., since 2014, lost her valiant fight with brain cancer on Tuesday afternoon. She was 65 when she died in Florida with family and loved ones at her side.
"Man, this really hurts," Matt Hagan, driver of DSR's Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars said of the recipient of the NHRA Blaine Johnson Award in 2015 for her dedication to helping others. "She always had that big smile and loved her Make-A-Wish kids. We're really going to miss her."
Hagan and thousands of others will carry her memory throughout the rest of the 2017 season and beyond.
After four consecutive weekends of racing in June, the series took the weekend off and it allowed 2012 and 2014 Funny Car world champion Hagan some quality time with the family and his expanding cattle farm in rural Virginia.
"That month of June was rough on everybody," Hagan said. "It was tough on the guys that work on this car, their families and it was tough keeping up here on the farm. So it's been a productive time at home and I'm ready to go back racing."
The Mello Yello Series reached its halfway point two weeks ago at Norwalk, Ohio, and the Mopar Express Lane team led by crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Michael Knudsen have three event titles in four final round appearances. They trail DSR teammate and reigning world champion Ron Capps in Funny Car points standings.
"We're halfway through and it's been a great year for us," said Hagan. "But it's been a better year for (Capps) so we are focused on doing what they do and going down the track each and every lap and picking up round wins consistently."
Hagan has three career event titles in four final round appearances at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.
"It seems to be one that we just do well at," he said. "That's all Dickie. He's the mastermind. It's a tough one because we don't qualify in the conditions we race in so that's kind of a head scratcher for these crew chiefs. But he's the guy I want on my side when it comes to that. You can throw anything at the guy and he's going to figure it out and that's what he'll do this weekend."



Next NHRA Event 2018

FC Mello Yello Points

Funny Car (Unofficial)

1. Robert Hight (2548)
2. Ron Capps (2533)
3. Courtney Force (2423)
4. Jack Beckman (2396)
5. Matt Hagan (2387)
6. John Force (2306)
7. Tommy Johnson Jr. (2276)
8. Tim Wilkerson (2237)
9. J.R. Todd (2233)
10. Cruz Pedregon (2163)